Depression and Love Relationships: Are They Doomed to Fail?

Depression and love relationships aren't always doomed to fail, but depression does throw up some challenges for couples. Details on HealthyPlace.

Depression and love relationships can get complicated. While many of us say that words "In sickness and in health," or at least agree with the sentiment, caring for someone with a mental illness isn't easy. What's more, being the one who's depressed can isolate you from those you love, causing a chasm that’s hard to bridge. We know that people face many challenges when dealing with depression, but are their relationships doomed to fail? Find out everything you need to know about depression and love or romantic relationships.

Depression and Love Relationships: What Challenges Do Partners Face?

When it comes to depression and love relationships, whether you experience depression or you love someone who does, dealing with any illness in a relationship can be difficult. However, because of the stigma surrounding mental illness and people's unwillingness to talk about how it affects them, people with depression take on a whole other set of challenges.

If you are a depressed spouse, you might feel guilty that your partner is having to care for you or take on the work of running a house or raising a family. You may feel like an emotional burden or that your partner is tired of your negativity. Low self-esteem and negative self-talk are common symptoms of depression. These thoughts may cause you to become overly dependent or even push your loved one away.

If you are the partner of someone who is depressed, you may feel helpless and frustrated. You know it's not your job to fix them, but you can't help but think that they wouldn't be depressed if only you could make them happy or somehow help your spouse or partner with depression. Looking after someone who’s depressed is also exhausting, and you may feel resentful, hurt or angry at times. All of this is normal and expected, but it can take its toll on a relationship.

Warning Signs That Depression Is Hurting Your Relationship

Protecting your love relationship from the effects of depression isn’t easy. According to Shannon Kolakowski, author of When Depression Hurts Your Relationship: How To Regain Intimacy and Reconnect with Your Partner When You’re Depressed, identifying the warning signs is half the battle. However, they can be difficult to spot. Here are some signs that depression is affecting your love or romantic relationship:

  • You’ve lost empathy for your partner
  • Your sex life has diminished or ceased completely
  • You can’t see a future for the relationship
  • You and your partner are hiding your true feelings from one another
  • You feel anxious when it’s time to spend time with your partner
  • You can’t communicate without arguing
  • You feel resentful toward your partner
  • You imagine your life would be better without them

If any or all of these warning signs are present in your love relationship, that doesn’t mean it is doomed to fail. It just means that both partners must be prepared to do some work, and you must be patient. While the road to recovery from depression isn't always smooth, many people feel better once they start treatment – whether that's talking therapy, medication, lifestyle changes or a combination of all three.

In terms of depression and your love relationship, seeing a couple’s counselor can help you communicate more effectively and could help you get your emotional and physical intimacy back on track.

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2022, January 3). Depression and Love Relationships: Are They Doomed to Fail?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: January 10, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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